Most people say they won’t waste their money watching a Nigerian movie in cinemas. I will start by asking your opinion on Nigerian movies. How will you rate them?
Thursday 24th March 2016 was a huge day for me – as a comic fan boy and as a critic. In case you were on Mars or underneath a rock at that time, here’s why it was such a big deal: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman appeared together on the big screen for the first time.
You read that right.
In case you’re one of those who still think comics are for children, let me share some statistics with you right quick:
Together, the Iron Man trilogy grossed $1.4 billion.
Man of Steel grossed $666 million.
Both The Avengers movies grossed $1.1 billion.
The first two Captain Americas grossed $1.8 billion.
Deadpool grossed $731 million as at when this article was written.
Do I need to go on?
As I was saying, it was a huge day for me. Two of my favourite comic characters are on the big screen duking it out and I had a front row seat. The most interesting thing was the overcrowdedness of the halls.
It was so hot you could roast corn in them. But it didn’t matter. The excitement was palpable – it was thick enough to be cut with a dull knife. Men and women, boys and girls watched in awed silence as the picture unraveled in two hours and some minutes.
But as I was leaving the cinema, ignoring the excited babble around me, I couldn’t help but wonder – when will a Nigerian movie premiere have this much of a crowd?
Fine, maybe it isn’t fair to compare Superman and Batman or The Avengers to Nigerian films. After all those guys have multi-billion machineries behind them, but the Nigerian cinema crowd is, for the most part, Nigerian. Why do we not turn out en masse to support our own?
I have a friend who tells me he can never watch a Nigerian movie in the cinema. He considers it a waste of his time. He does not think the experience will be worth the stress. Of course I disagree, but I see his point. I have seen a number of Nigerian movies in the cinema, and more often than not, I left the cinema heartbroken. Choppy editing. Poor camera angles. Lame music. Crappy story lines. Several other issues.
Of course, that is not to say every Nigerian movie sucks. I have also seen quite a number of impressive ones. But with the poor ones showing up more frequently than the really good ones, who can blame anyone for being unwilling to pay money to watch a Nigerian movie in the cinema?
Still, here’s how the Nigerian Movie Industry (I intentionally stay away from the word “Nollywood”) can grow and improve:
- Better storytelling – More emphasis is placed on production quality these days as opposed to storytelling. While improved picture quality is a welcome development, a story shouldn’t suffer for the sake of glossy pictures. Everything has its place and I will take a compelling story over pretty pictures any day. Why do you think independent movies are so successful abroad?
- Better promotion – One thing conspicuously absent from our movies is proper marketing. Marketers – or directors, because they basically do everything themselves, sometimes even writing the script – can learn a lot from following the marketing campaign for the Deadpool Smart campaigning did a lot for a movie of a character that wasn’t that popular before now.
- Corporate endorsements – This is also a huge deal if done right. The campaign for Deadpool and even Dawn of Justice featured products in our world making an appearance in the movie’s fictional one. For example, an airline did a campaign featuring flights to everywhere – including the fictional cities featured in the movie. Smart campaigns do not always include big funding. Deadpool proved that.
- Better distribution – Even the distribution needs work. I understand there are so many things different over here than out there, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Whatever they have now, wherever they are now, they were once where we are with no structure or support or anything. All they had were dreams.
The Nigerian movie industry needs a review. It needs a step back and a reorientation else it will wallow in mediocrity for the next millennia. It’s been long enough.
Here is a link of the top grossing movie in 2016.